Will Smith to Perform New Song at 2024 BET Awards

Will Smith is reemerging on the awards show stage, but perhaps not in the way you may expect. The rapper and actor is set to perform a new song during the 2024 BET Awards on June 30.

“From his start as a rapper to the Fresh Prince to being a box office king as one of the Bad Boys, Will Smith is truly a global icon, and we are honored to welcome him back to grace the BET Awards stage,” Connie Orlando, executive vice president of specials, music programming and music strategy at BET, said in a statement to press. “We look forward to Will adding to yet another defining night for the culture that is not to be missed.”

The BET Awards will air live on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT and will be hosted once again by Taraji P. Henson. In addition to Smith, the ceremony will include live performances from GloRilla, Ice Spice, Latto, Ms. Lauryn Hill and YG Marley, Muni Long, Sexyy Red, Shaboozey, Tyla and Victoria Monét. Tanner Adell will also perform on the BET Amplified stage.

Though he is now best known for his film and television work, Smith started his career as one half of the hip-hop duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince. He and DJ Jazzy Jeff were responsible for hits like “Parents Just Don’t Understand,” “A Nightmare on My Street” and “Summertime.” Smith then launched his solo career, releasing hits such as “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It,” “Miami,” “Wild Wild West” and — much later — “Switch.”

Smith’s musical success actually inspired the series that would become his acting breakout, NBC’s “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” He later established himself as a box office star with movies such as “Bad Boys,” “Independence Day” and the “Men in Black” series. That would later lead to Smith proving himself as an award-nominated actor for his roles in 2001’s “Ali” and 2006’s “The Pursuit of Happyness.”

Though he has been starring in critically acclaimed and commercially successful films for decades, Smith’s Oscar win didn’t happen until 2022 for his portrayal of the Williams’ sisters’ father in the movie “King Richard.” But that night wasn’t remembered for Smith’s victory so much as his actions. After presenter Chris Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith, Smith stormed onstage and slapped Rock, saying “Keep my wife’s name out of your f–king mouth.”

Since the viral incident, Smith has largely stayed out of the public spotlight. The 2024 BET Awards will mark Smith’s first return to an awards stage since the Oscars.

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